- Download 9
- File Size 430 KB
- File Count 1
- Create Date July 28, 2015
- Last Updated November 11, 2021
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 28 July 2015 41-59
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 28th July, 2015
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m
(MR. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY MR. SPEAKER
POSTPONEMENT OF THE DIPLOMATIC TRAINING WORKSHOP
- SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that the Diplomatic
Training Workshop, which had been scheduled for 31st July to 3rd August 2015, has been postponed until further notice. Hon. Members will be advised of new dates in due course.
NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE
PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
- SPEAKER: I have received non-adverse reports on the General Laws Amendment Bill [H.B. 3, 2015] and Statutory Instruments and General Notices gazetted during the month of July, 2015.
INVITATION TO A MEETING BY WOMEN’S UNIVERSITY
- SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that Women’s University in Africa is inviting all Members of Parliament to a meeting on Wednesday, 29th July, 2015 at 0900 hours in the Senate Chamber. The purpose of the meeting is for the university staff to share information on the programmes the university offers, as well as career opportunities created by such programmes. Please attend.
MR. SPEAKER’S RULING
HON. MARIDADI’S POINT OF ORDER ON THE SECOND
READING OF THE JOINT VENTURES’ BILL
- SPEAKER: This is a ruling by the Chair on the point of order raised by Hon. J. Maridadi on the presentation of a committee report by Hon. Dr. Mukanduri. On Thursday, 23rd July, 2015, Hon. Maridadi raised a point of order during the debate on the Second
Reading of the Joint Ventures Bill [H.B.4, 2015], seeking the Chair’s ruling on which version of the report on the Committee on Finance and Economic Development the House should consider. The point of order arose after a claim by Hon. Dr. Kereke, a member of the Finance and
Economic Development Committee that the committee’s report presented by the Acting Chairperson, Hon. Dr. Mukanduri had material omissions in respect of the Committee’s recommendations.
I have since sought clarification on the matter and I have established the following:
- The Committee deliberated on the Joint Ventures Bill on 22nd June, 2015 and on 6th July, 2015 respectively, following the public hearings held from 15 – 20th June, 2015. On these two meetings, Hon. Dr. Kereke attended the latter.
- The Committee considered and adopted the report on the Bill on the 13th July, 2015. Hon. Dr. Kereke was not in attendance
at this meeting. The issues he claims were omitted were never adopted by the Committee on Finance and Economic
Development. After such debate and deliberation, the
Committee resolved not to include Hon. Dr. Kereke’s submissions in its final report as presented to the august House.
- This, therefore, means that the report presented in the House by the Acting Chair, Hon. Dr. Mukanduri is a true reflection of the Committee’s proceedings and resolutions. To this end, the point of order raised by Hon. Maridadi must fail and is hereby dismissed – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] I also want to announce that hon. Ministers are still in Cabinet.
- MARIDADI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
- SPEAKER: The Speaker has not finished his nnouncement, do you want to interrupt him on announcements?
- MARIDADI: I just wanted to comment on the ruling by the
- SPEAKER: You are not allowed in terms of the Standing Rules and Orders. Please read your Standing Rules and Orders properly.
When the Chair has ruled, he has ruled.
RECOMMITAL TO COMMITTEE STAGE
ZIMBABWE GENDER COMMISSION BILL, 2014 (H.B.
First Order read: Recommittal: Zimbabwe Gender Commission Bill, (H.B.8, 2014).
House in Committee.
On Clause 2:
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, GENDER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (MS.
DAMASANE): I move the amendments standing in my name that;
On page 4 of the Bill, in subclause (1), insert the following definitions after the definition of “Chief Executive Officer”:
“gender” means the roles, duties and responsibilities which are culturally or socially ascribed to women, men, girls and boys;
“gender equality” means the equal enjoyment of rights and access to opportunities and outcomes, including resources by women, men, girls and boys;
“gender equity” means the just and fair distribution of benefits, rewards and opportunities between women, men, girls and boys;
“gender mainstreaming” means the process of identifying and resolving gender gaps, and making the concerns and experiences of women, men, girls and boys integral to the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all spheres so that they benefit equally”.
On page 4 of the Bill in subclause (2) of Clause 2, delete in lines
44 and 45 the words “In this Act, “systemic barrier prejudicial to gender equality” means any barrier, practice, custom, law or other impediment prejudicial to the achievement of gender equality, including equality of opportunities and outcomes in the following spheres of activity or sectors of the society or economy” and substitute “In this Act, “systemic barrier prejudicial to gender equality, gender equity or gender mainstreaming” means any barrier, practice, custom, law or other impediment prejudicial to the achievement of gender equality, gender equality, gender equity or gender mainstreaming including equality of opportunities and outcomes in the following spheres of activity or sectors of the society or economy (whose itemization here is not to be taken as exhaustive or as limiting the generality of the foregoing)”
On page 5 of the Bill, delete paragraph (f) on lines 13 and 14 and substitute the following paragraphs –
“(f) in the sphere of family law (including marriage, divorce, custody and guardianship), children’s rights, succession and inheritance;
(g) any other sphere or activity specified by the Commission in pursuance of its constitutional mandate”.
Amendment to Clause 2 put and agreed to.
Clause 2, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 5:
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, GENDER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (MS.
DAMASANE): I move the amendment standing in my name that;
On page 6 of the Bill, delete in line 11 the phrase “system barrier prejudicial to the gender equality” and substitute “systemic barrier prejudicial to gender equality, gender equity or gender mainstreaming”.
Amendment to Clause 5 put and agreed to.
On Clause 6:
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS,
GENDER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (MS.
DAMASANE): I move the amendment standing in my name that:
On page 6 of the Bill, insert in line 7 after subsection (6) the following sub-clause and renumber the subsequent paragraphs accordingly –
“(6) an aggrieved person, may in accordance with the Administrative Justice Act [Chapter 10:28] (No. 24 of 20040, appeal against such certificate, and the court hearing the appeal shall treat any evidence or documentation subject to the certificate in the manner specified in section 8 (“Discretion to refuse or to restrict supply of reasons”) of the Administrative Justice Act [Chapter 10:28] (No 24 of
Amendment to Clause 6 put and agreed to.
Clause 6, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 7:
MRS. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: On a point of order
Chair. We are on what clause? We can hardly hear – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-. We just want to follow
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order! We are now on
MRS. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Are you just going to
speak on the amendments or we may raise issues even on the issues that have not been raised for amendment by the Minister?
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: I had already said, is there any debate and nobody stood up to say there is debate.
MRS. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I want to know, are
you going section by section. What I am asking is that if we get to…
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: You mean amendment by amendment.
MRS. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: On section 16, I have a
proposal that I want to make. Are you going to say Clause 8, Clause 9, Clause 10 or are you just going to go on amendments?
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: It is only on amendments.
MRS. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: So we cannot speak on
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: No, we can only speak on
amendments. This is in respect of the amendments that were done. The chance was given and amendments proposed. This is what we are talking about right now.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, GENDER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (MS.
DAMASANE): I move the amendment standing in my name that:
On page 7 of the Bill, delete the introductory words, “If, after conducting an investigation, the Commission is of the opinion that the investigation has revealed any systemic barrier prejudicial to gender equality, it shall report in writing to the Minister – “ and substitute “If, after conducting an investigation, the Commission is of the opinion that the investigation has revealed any systemic barrier prejudicial to gender equality, it shall, after having informed the Minister in writing, report to
On page 7 of the Bill, delete in line 35 the phrase “systemic barrier prejudicial to gender equality” and substitute “systemic barrier prejudicial to gender equality, gender equity or gender mainstreaming”.
On page 7 of the Bill, in paragraph (c), delete in line 35 the phrase
“gender equality” and substitute “gender equality, gender equity or gender mainstreaming”.
Amendment to Clause 7 put and agreed to.
Clause 7, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 8:
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS,
GENDER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (MS.
DAMASANE): I move the amendment standing in my name that;
On page 8 of the Bill, insert the following proviso to subclause (1):
“Provided that the venue of the Gender Forum shall rotate annually through every provincial centre of Zimbabwe in such order as the
Commission shall determine”.
On page 8 of the Bill, in subclause (3), insert the following paragraph after paragraph (c):
“(d) receive reports from the subcommittees (if any) constituted in terms of subsection (4).”
On page 8 of the Bill, insert the following proviso to subclause (3), the subsequent clauses being renumbered accordingly:
“(4) To assist the Pre-Forum Committee in discharging its terms of reference the Commission may constitute a subcommittee in every provincial centre of Zimbabwe chaired by a member of the Pre-Forum Committee.
On page 8 of the Bill, delete in lines 34 and 35 subclause (4) (now subclause (5)) and substitute the following subclause:
“(5) Paragraph 7 of the First Schedule applies to the appointment and meetings of the Pre-Forum Committee, and to any subcommittee constituted in terms of subsection as if the Pre-Forum Committee and subcommittee were committees of the Commission”
Amendment to Clause 8 put and agreed to.
Clause 8, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 10:
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, GENDER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (MS.
DAMASANE): I move the amendment standing in my name that;
On page 9 of the Bill, delete in line 18 the phrase “in consultation with the Minister” and substitute, “after consultation with the Minister”.
On page 9 of the Bill, delete the proviso to subclause (1) from lines
22 to 24.
On page 9 of the Bill, delete in line 25 the phrase “Except with
written authority of the Minister”.
Amendment to Clause 10 put and agreed to.
Clause 10, as amended, put and agreed to.
On First Schedule:
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, GENDER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (MS.
DAMASANE): I move the amendment standing in my name that;
On page 13 of the Bill, delete paragraph 3 from lines 16 to 23 and renumber the subsequent paragraphs accordingly.
On page 13 of the Bill, in paragraph 4 (now paragraph 3) from lines 27 to 29 delete the phrase “one month after the date he or she gives notice in writing to the Minister of his or her intention to resign his office or after the expiry of such other period of notice as he or she and the Minister may agree” and substitute “one month after the date he or she gives notice in writing to the President or in the case of the CEO to the Chairperson, of his or her intention to resign his office or after the expiry of such other period of notice as he or she and the President or Chairperson, as the case maybe, agree.
On page 13 of the Bill, in paragraph 4 (now paragraph 3), delete subparagraph (2) from lines 39 to 44 and renumber subparagraph (3) as subparagraph (2).
On page 13 of the Bill, in paragraph 4 (now paragraph 3), delete in line 45 the word “Minister” and substitute “President”.
On page 14 of the Bill, in paragraph 5 (now paragraph 4), delete in line 5 the word “Minister” and substitute “President”.
Amendment to First Schedule put and agreed to.
First Schedule, as amended, put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
- CHIKWAMA: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 2 and 3 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
- MUKWANGWARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the
Question again proposed.
- MASAMVU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for affording me the time to respond to the Presidential Speech that was ushered on the Official Opening of the 2nd Session of the Eighth Parliament. Allow me to congratulate His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Cde R.G. Mugabe for the two appointments to the Chair of the African Union and the SADC.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in response to His Excellency’s desire to increase power production in Zimbabwe, I am pleased to inform the House that my constituency is now generating 21 megawatts into the power grid of Zimbabwe Energy Transmission and Distribution Company that is enhancing stability of power distribution not only in my constituency but in Manicaland. This wonderful contribution to the State’s power situation is being done through our friendly stakeholder Nyangani Renewable Energy Power Company in collaboration with our power distribution company, Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution and the entire human resources of Mutasa North Constituency and local traditional leadership.
The power stations have been built from our rich resources of rivers that flow throughout the year in the following areas: Nyamhingura Power Station is generating 1.1 Megawatts from water diverted from Nyamhingura and Madhengwe Rivers. Duru Power
Station is generating 2.2 megawatts from Duru River; Pungwe A Power
Station is generating 15 megawatts from the main Pungwe River;
Pungwe B Power Station is generating 15 megawatts from the main
Pungwe River. NRE is currently building another Pungwe C Power Station in Chiteme River near headman Zindi. Further plans are already in process to build more small power plants in Ngarura and Towe rivers.
The 2014 statistics revealed that the energy that was generated from the three commissioned power stations with an output of 6.1 megawatts was 24 488 megawatts.
The power that has been produced has also benefited our 7 schools and further 13 schools will also be receiving connections in the very near future. Our appreciation goes to the good donations that we are receiving from our Community Development Committees and supported by NRE. I have also recently coordinated the connections of power in Phase 2 residential areas of Hauna Growth Point, a project that started 15 years ago and abandoned. Our people in that area are now in the process of electrifying their properties.
I would like to thank His Excellency for the policy on independent Power Producing Companies which is yielding evident results. Most business operators in Honde Valley are operating viably as we are now receiving next to none power cuts. It is imperative for our Government to continue to support such good and productive partnership with IPPs to harness the great wonder of God-given resources to produce clean power for our people and indeed, grow our industries.
Mr. Speaker Sir, His Excellency alluded to the importance of promoting the tourism sector as it is vibrant economic growth note. My constituency is amongst the one wonders of the world that hosts a hive of touristic areas such as the already mentioned Mill Hydro Power
Stations, Mutarazi Falls with 762 metres waterfall, the highest fall in
Zimbabwe and the second highest in Africa, Mahwema Simike Mountains, Nyawamba Dam, Aberfoyle Resort Resort with a brilliant 18 hole golf course, rich and well conserved rivers that is Pungwe, Nyamhingura Honde Rivers and tea estates.
My constituency is in the consultation process to publicise these beautiful areas so that we attract, not only local but foreign visitors to enjoy the friendliness of our people, important learning sites in power production, mechanical tea plucking and processing at the vibrant Eastern Highlands Tea Estates. Of recent, so many schools from all over Zimbabwe have been visiting my constituency to enjoy wonders of my constituency. It is therefore my appeal to the Government to ensure that the main link road that runs from Selbourne through to Eastern Highlands Tea Estate….
- SPEAKER: Order, order. Can the hon. members not
debating restrict themselves to whispers, especially these on the front here on my left. Hon. Wadyajena, do not join the club. We need to follow the debate so that if there are certain issues that need correction, we can do so either by debating ourselves.
- MASAMVU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
- SPEAKER: Order Hon. Mutseyami, are you disputing the
- MASAMVU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Of recent, so many schools from all over Zimbabwe have been visiting my constituency to enjoy wonders of my constituency. It is therefore my appeal to the Government to ensure that the main link road that runs from Selbourne through to Eastern Highlands Tea Estates be maintained in a very good state so that our country’s tourism benefit from these wonderful sites
Mr. Speaker Sir, I salute the President for working tirelessly in motivating the much needed assistance to keep growing our agricultural sector. The recent agreement signed on agricultural mechanization and the first batch of tillage equipment for communal and resettled areas is highly appreciated. My constituency continues to do what it knows best in the production of fruits and other staple crops to feed many towns and cities. Banana production has become one of the biggest farming activity and members here present will agree with me that we produce the best quality bananas. Tabasco chili, tea, coffee, pineapples and yams, commonly known as magogoya are part of the crops that I have been supporting. Honey production is also on the increase with Nyahari Honey Association now competing at national level and indeed, on the international forums such as the recent Honey Expo held in Zimbabwe which they won the second prize in the world.
Following the launch of the Nutritional Cluster at Hauna in my constituency, our efforts to champion nutritional projects has begun with assisting organisations in the logistics of properly distributing and promoting chicken production in the constituency. However, our initiatives and great efforts in producing more than what we can consume now requires our Government to focus in value addition and beneficiation of our fruits so that we can also export canned fruits to all over the world and not only Mbare Msika. My constituency desperately requires an immediate intervention to construct a factory that will process most of these fruits so that our farmers enjoy better rewards from their sweat.
At this juncture, I would like to urge my fellow Zimbabweans that shall benefit from the tillage initiatives of His Excellency to effectively and efficiently utilize this wonderful opportunity to increase agricultural production for our country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to speak about mining which His
Excellency has always indicated, that it plays a catalytic role in the growth of our economy. I would like to congratulate His Excellency for the envisaged legislation and policy framework which I believe shall benefit, not only Mutasa North claim holders, but the whole country.
Mining has emerged as a strong economic pillar of the country’s gross domestic product. In Mutasa North Mr. Speaker Sir, I have been working on the identification of possible partnerships to assist our initiatives to mine gold from the current allocations that we shall be getting from Redwing Mine. About 15 to 20 blocks will be allocated to various associations and cooperatives formed by the youth, women, war veterans, ZILIWACO, ZIPEDRA and various other stakeholders we
identify. It is our strong belief that once this is fully supported, our people will also benefit immensely from the mineral resources of our country and that the smart partnerships will also create employment for our youth.
Mr. Speaker Sir, infrastructure development and rehabilitation plays a major role in promoting the various efforts of development. I hail His Excellency for the current major roads idealization and rehabilitation. In my constituency, I have assisted in maintaining the main link road from Selbourne to Eastern highlands plantations. The road had menacing pot holes for over 3 years and with the assistance of our colleagues, my community and ever supporting stakeholders, our road is now accessible. Several bridges have been planned to be rehabilitated and these are Katambarare and Ngarura bridges. All the necessary materials are already available and the Ministry of Roads engineers are now working on applicable processes.
As mentioned earlier, Mr. Speaker Sir, Mutasa North borders Mozambique and plans to build a border post were done some 15 years ago. Four beautiful residential houses were built at the proposed site and up to now, the place is now being manned by security. EHPL which will be the main beneficiary for the transport of its tea to Beira has in the past been working tirelessly with the relevant Government ministry but still nothing has happened. It is imperative to note that all that we are doing will require us to cut costs of transporting certain raw materials.
We do not want to have that, including fuel and as such, this border post will immensely help our constituencies with easy access to sea. I therefore, humbly request the Government to expedite the available plans and any consultations with the Mozambican Government to finalise this border post which will also assist in revenue generation by
Mr. Speaker Sir, as we now live in a global village, we cannot afford to survive with Information Technology in our communities. I applaud His Excellency, the President for the initiative of the National Information Communication Technology Policy (ICT) to facilitate ICT development and management across sectors of the economy. I would like to further thank His Excellency, for the donation of computers to ten secondary schools in my constituency.
To compliment His Excellency’s initiatives, my office has also assisted the main high school, St Columbus Secondary School with WiFi equipment to enhance internet availability. As usual, our stakeholders NRE, through its Trust has installed 7V-SAT systems in seven schools, that have been recently electrified. 20 schools will benefit with 20 computers per school and V-SAT internet connectivity. As we all know, catch them young, is what we are doing to introduce our children to ICT so that they play the required integral role of research in order to act wisely in the future.
In conclusion, my constituency has a parastatal ARDA Katiyo that went broke many years ago. It is our hope that the land and equipment that used to produce internationally recognised tea be resuscitated for the benefit, not only for the people of Katiyo, Chisuko and Mandeya, but the whole nation. His Excellency commissioned the wonderful factory and for many years, the tea estate received local and internationals awards from its unique clonal teas which today we cherish to continue to see. Our smallholder tea growers are ready to provide the company with tea and all we require from the Government is an ideal partnership to get the company to operate again.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I am very delighted to note that Zimbabweans have not looked back in condoning illegal sanctions imposed on
Zimbabwe by the West and its allies – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – His Excellency has continued to use his greatest visionary, philosophic and economic wisdom to protect our interests as a country which has seen a lot of policies and programmes being developed to protect our nation. The ZIM ASSET and Indigenisation Policies will ever be cherished by Zimbabweans as they have already started bringing in the much needed turnaround strategies. I thank you.
- J. TSHUMA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My name is Joseph
Tshuma, the new Member of Parliament for Pelandaba-Mpopoma Constituency in Bulawayo, elected on the 10th June, 2015. May I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your election and appointment as Speaker of this august House. May I also take this opportunity to thank the people of Pelandaba-Mpopoma Constituency for vesting their trust in me, by electing me to come and represent them in this august House.
Their votes shall ssurely be repaid by my actions as I intend to do justice to my role of being their servant and voice in all matters of this House and the country in general, to bring back development and success in our beautiful part of the country which has seen little or no development at all, for the past 15 years due to circumstance brought about by our desire to change of which no change occurred at all.
Instead we experienced a deteriorating status of all our systems. Mr.
Speaker Sir, may I take this opportunity to salute and thank His
Excellency, the President, the Head of State and Government, The
Commander-in Chief of the Defence Force, the Chairman of African
Union and also the Chairman of SADC for his sound address at the
Official Opening of the Second Session of the Eighth Parliament of
Zimbabwe on the 28th October, 2014 – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]
May I take this opportunity to congratulate His Excellency on the resounding victory and being elected to lead us in July 2013 elections – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – May I congratulate him again, for his subsequent elevation and election to Chair SADC and AU. Indeed this man is a cut above the rest. His visionary leadership even left Tendai Biti and David Coltart of the opposition in full admiration for our iconic leader when they publicly acknowledged him in our local media as a leader and father figure par excellent. Hate him or like him, he is a God given man and a God given leader of our beautiful nation – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – and indeed of Africa as a whole.
Mr. Speaker Sir, my constituency is an urban one and hence it relies more on employment, job creation and sustenance. The current scenario of rampant closures of companies and the unilateral firing of employees is a great cause of concern to all of us. There is need also for all of us to put our heads together to try and foster a lasting solution to this evil. This can be done through what His Excellency said in his address when he said “in fulfillment of its constitutional mandate, Parliament will, during the Second Session of the Eighth Parliament place great emphasis on the alignment of laws to the Constitution and reviewing of existing and enacting of new legislation that lends support to the attainment of goals socio-economic development in general and to those of ZIM ASSET in particular”. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]
Mr. Speaker, hon. members seated in this House today to a great extent represent the entire nation. What is at stake is our ability to agree and act upon issues collectively. There is need to create sustainable political and legislative momentum and support each other irrespective of our political differences. I am tempted to buy into Martin Luther
King’s speech which he made in June, 1965 entitled ‘Remaining Awake through a Great Revolution’. He said “the world in which we live in is geographically one, the great challenge now is to make it one in terms of brotherhood” He further went on to say, “ we must learn to live together as brothers, or we will all perish together as fools. This is the greatest issue facing us today, no individual can live alone, and no nation can live alone, we are tied together”
Mr. Speaker Sir, having noted that, it is therefore critical that we embrace such thoughts in order to lead and work for our constituencies for the betterment of our people. My constituency has challenges that are emanating from the issue of pensions. As you are aware, I lead an urban constituency, most of our people rely on employment. Now, with the change over from the Zimbabwean dollar era to the United States era, we had a lot of people who lost out on their pensions. My hope and prayer is that, as a House, as a system and as the Executive, we shall be able to solve such problems for our people because they worked for all their lives and we are hoping that the savings or pensions that were supposed to be due to them were going to see them through their later stages of life when they reach retirement.
I also have got a very big problem of issues of employment and issues of companies that have closed down. I am greatly saddened to note that the CSC which used to employ over 5 000 people from Bulawayo alone – with the closure of CSC, we are actually burdened by the people’s situation. Like I said, we are an urbanised constituency and highly depend on employment. It is therefore prudent that what the President said in his address; the issues of the Joint Venture Bill and the issues of resuscitating our economy must be looked into seriously in order for us to make sure that such companies like CSC come back again to work so that the people of Bulawayo in general benefit from such a noble Government move.
If we also look at NRZ, it employs a lot of people from my constituency. We look at people from Matshobane, Mpopoma and Iminyela Flats. All these have been employed by NRZ. Most of them have not been paid for months and months. You wonder how they are going to survive, pay rentals, feed their children or even send them to school. It all comes back to the point that we all need to put our heads together as a nation and as a people. We should put our political differences aside and make sure that we do things for our country. Our country first and our political stands second.
I also want to look at the issue of energy. If we look at this issue, we understand that Bulawayo has always been called Kontuthu ziyathunqa, it was because of the industries there. If industries are going to work and if we are going to resuscitate our whole system there, we need energy without any doubt. I have been looking at it from a very simplicity point of view. We are a nation that has been blessed by a natural resource called solar. I have always been wondering why as a House and system, we do not push for a situation whereby we put solar as our substitute for electricity. If we look at the pylon poles that carry electricity, they have got a vast piece of land underneath them where we can actually put solar panels and be able to produce solar that will give us electricity to a point whereby we can even export the same commodity to our neighboring countries and thereby realizing revenue into our fiscus. The President, in his address, actually put us on that gear and I hope that it is going to be this House’s and Executive duty to make sure that they follow what the President alluded to already in his speech.
I will come to the issue of roads; our roads are in dire straits. In the social media, for example WhatsApp, you get pictures of a crocodile in a pothole. To me, this is very deplorable and it should never be allowed. I am hoping and praying that if we all listen and follow the wise counsel of our President, we should be able, through ZINARA and the local authorities, to try and alleviate people’s problems. A lot of breakdowns on vehicles and accidents are being caused by the status of our roads. It is my hope that we shall be able one day to sit and look back and smile and say it is a problem that has been solved already.
May I also take you to the ICT issue; we realise that because we are a global village and world, all trends lead to ensure that we are now moving to a point whereby ICT is going to be the main domain.
Therefore, I think it is necessary for us, through the Ministry of Primary Education to try and drive that all our primary schools become ICT compliant.
In my constituency, I have got Induna, Mpumelelo, Seventh Day Adventist, Gum Pool and Nkulumane Primary School. It is my hope that we are going to push to have all these primary schools incorporated into the ICT programmes so that we catch them whilst they are young. They learn these things so that when they grow up, they do so with the technology that we so desire. After all, they are the future of our country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I will go into the health issue. The state of our hospitals in Bulawayo, if you look at Mpilo hospital and UBH; things are not well at all. It is incumbent upon us to try and move fast. The President in his address noted that there was some 89 million dollars that was set aside for the health delivery system to be awakened and it is my hope and wish that part of that fund will advently come to Bulawayo.
With the problems with the mortuary at Mpilo; it has grown so small. The numbers in Bulawayo have gone up and so we need things like the mortuary well done. We also need equipment for surgical operations so that our people do not have to go outside the country to seek these medical remedies. They can get them from within.
It is also my contention that we look at the issue of Ekhusileni hospital that was coined by the late Vice President Dr. Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo. If we could take this thing and bring it up, it is going to go a long way in alleviating the health problems that we are facing as Bulawayo.
If I look at the issues of education, I have a big problem. In
Bulawayo, we were one of the first people to have the National University of Science and Technology but if you look at our schools; in my constituency, I have Mpopoma and Sizane High Schools. If you look at our average inflow into the last university, you will discover that we actually have less students that are coming from Bulawayo to go into the National University of Science and Technology. To me, that is a cause of concern.
Therefore, I would like this House to look into such issues so that we actually prioritise the learning of science subjects in Bulawayo in particular, so that a balance is achieved because right now, if you go to the National University of Science and Technology, you will be shocked that most of the students that come there are coming from all over Zimbabwe but Bulawayo. We only got a few Bulawayo people that go into their university. To me, that is a sign of weakness that we need to change as leaders from Bulawayo and make sure that we support the learning of science subjects so that we also have equal representation of students that go into such noble universities.
My other point is on the issue of water. It has always been a perennial cry. We are always running short of water. I shudder and wonder how we are having such things when we have the Khami dam which can be used to have water going into the industries. There can be a pipeline that will directly take the water from this dam to go and service industries. It will not go to the consumption of people or into houses. That water can be treated to go and service industries; then the water that was going to industries can now come into the residential places. That way Mr. Speaker Sir, we will have solved a big problem.
We also have the Nyamandlovu Acquifer, what have we done? The last time that I heard, it was reported that pumps were stolen from it but what are we doing about it? That is water that is already there. We have a lot of water. I am also meant to believe that there is water right in the middle of Bulawayo under Lapf House under the tower block. I am told that we have abundant resources of water there. Look at Botswana, they are living from such kind of sources of water. Why can we not look at such things and make sure that we tap into the things that God gave us already –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-.
As a long term effect, we are now going to look at the issues of the Zambezi Water Project. As much as the President has already told us about the Mtshabezi Dam Project, all these things if we pool them to context, if we look into them with one and an attentive mind, we will be able, Mr. Speaker Sir, one day as we leave Parliament, to say that we have done well for our country and constituency because that is what is paramount when we come to this august House.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in conclusion and on a lighter note, may I take this opportunity to thank you for bringing the games that were played over the weekend to Bulawayo. You left Bulawayo vibrant and - [HON. MEMBERS: Ululating.]. It was a well done gesture and we thank you for that. On that same note, may I take this opportunity to also congratulate the parliamentary netball and football warriors for a good show that they put over there? The House might actually want to know that I was actually one of co-coaches in that game and that is why we won 4 – 1 – [HON. MEMBERS: Laughter] – and it was such a memorable outing Mr. Speaker. I hope that next time you shall keep on bringing all these games to Bulawayo. With this, I thank you Mr.
Speaker Sir – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections].
MRS. CHIKWAMA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I –
- SPEAKER: Order, order. I want to say that the two debates that have taken place this afternoon are indicative of the level of the benchmarks that we should emulate, - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - very factual and logically presented. Let us keep up that standard – [HON. LABODE: It was a ZAPU speech.] – Hon. Labode, can you withdraw your insinuation. I shall not allow that.
- LABODE: I withdraw the insinuation or the misunderstanding of the speech from my brother Tshuma.
- SPEAKER: You have withdrawn nothing. Can you withdraw that that is from ZAPU?
- LABODE: Okay, I withdraw the word ZAPU.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY MR. SPEAKER
DISORDERLY PARKING OF VEHICLES
- SPEAKER: Hon. Members, we have disorderly parking of our vehicles in the parking area. There are several vehicles whose registration I shall read out which are disorderly parked; Ford Ranger ADI 9333, Ford Everest ACY 3120, Ford Ranger AD – Hon. Chamisa are you listening? This could be one of your cars. Ford Ranger ADI 9475, Mercedes Benz ABM 8663, Ford Ranger ADI 9282, Ford Ranger
9156, and last is a SUNNY which does not have a number – [AN HON.
MEMBER: Ndeya Chamisa.]
I have now instructed the police at the entrance gate to the car park, when a member refuses to obey a lawful instruction to park his vehicle properly, that hon. member shall be dishonourable and I have given the police an order to arrest accordingly – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.].
MRS. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Mr. Speaker, just to
clarify what is happening in case you have not heard. There are vehicles in that car park that are permanently there and broken down. Literally, the reason we are not having parking space for hon. members is there is a time that you gave a ruling that all those cars should be moved from the parking space. They all have come back. If they were all to be removed, there would absolutely be no problem for hon. members to go in – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -. I counted them today Hon. Speaker and there are 26 cars that you can tell are not moving and have been parked there for some time because they are dead – [AN. HON. MEMBER: Pane yaZvoma.]. We are please asking you to again enforce it before you allow the police to deal with us dishonourably. I think it is important to also enforce the same spirit for those people that have parked in that place because it is not theirs. Thank you.
- SPEAKER: I thank the Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga for
that observation. I take it seriously and will ensure that by next week, all those unclaimed or broken down vehicles are removed from there – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]. Hon. Chikwama, you wanted to say something.
MRS. CHIKWAMA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
- ANASTANCIA NDHLOVU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 29th July, 2015.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY MR. SPEAKER
NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE
PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
- SPEAKER: There is a problem of technicality and I apologize to the Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and
Community Development, after your submission of the report from the
Committee. The Chair should have indicated as follows: -
I have received a non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal
Committee on the Zimbabwe Gender Commission Bill [H.B. 8A, 2014].
ZIMBABWE GENDER COMMISSION BILL (H.B.8A, 2014)
Amendments to Clauses 2,5,6,7,8,10 and First Schedule put and agreed to.
Bill, as amended, adopted.
Third Reading: With leave; forthwith.
ZIMBABWE GENDER COMMISSION BILL [H.B. 8A, 2014].
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, GENDER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (MS.
DAMASANE): I move that the Bill be now read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
- MUKWANGWARIWA: Mr. Speaker, I move that Order of
the Day number 5, be stood over until the rest of the Orders have been disposed off.
- ANASTANCIA NDHLOVU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
FIRST REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON
ENVIRONMENT, WATER, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY
INDUSTRY ON FIFTEEN PER CENT VAT ON HOTEL
ACCOMMODATION FOR FOREIGN TOURISTS
- ANASTANCIA NDHLOVU: Mr. Speaker, I move the
motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the First
Report on the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Water, Tourism and
Hospitality Industry on 15% VAT on Hotel Accommodation for Foreign Tourists (S.C. 18, 2015).
- MHONA: I second.
- ANASTANCIA NDHLOVU: I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
I am here to present the Report of the Portfolio Committee on
Environment, Water, Tourism and Hospitality Industry on the 15% VAT on Hotel Accommodation for Foreign Tourists.
The Portfolio Committee on Environment, Water, Tourism and Hospitality Industry resolved to inquire into the impact of the 15% VAT introduced on hotel accommodation for foreign tourists with effect from January 2015 by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development as announced in the 2014 Budget presentation.
2.0 Objectives of the Enquiry
The broad objective of the enquiry was to enable Committee Members to understand how the tourism sector was performing considering the projected growth target of 4.7% by the end of 2015. In more specific terms, the Committee sought to;-
- Understand the economic effects, on the tourism sector, of the introduction of 15% VAT on hotel accommodation services for foreign tourists.
- Appreciate the measures that are being taken to address the challenges emanating from the introduction of 15% VAT on foreign tourists.
- To engage tourist operators pursuant to the need to understand their concerns in respect of the introduced 15% VAT on foreign
The last objective is consistent with section 141 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, as read together with Standing Order No. 167 (b), which compels Parliament to facilitate public involvement in its legislative and other processes and in the processes of its committees and gives select committees the power to receive representations from interested parties. In addition, it is instructive from the onset to note that representations made were from both the private and public sector. Therefore, the Committee was of the opinion that the cross sectional perspective presentations made constituted a good representation and measure of the challenges that may be prevalent in both the public and the private stakeholders.
To get a technical insight into the tourism value chain components, oral evidence was first delivered to the Committee by the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism. The Committee was apprised of the implications of the value chain costs as they relate to the destination. These included, inter alia, levies, advertising costs, travel insurance and vaccinations and health costs. It was highlighted that the tourism operators faced imminent loss of business as sales agents are out competed by their contemporaries from other destination markets in luring volumes from the oversees tourist. Oral evidence was also received from The Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry representing the public sector perception. Over and above these two representations, the Committee further sought the fiscus point of view from the Permanent Secretary for Finance and Economic Development. Suffice at this juncture to highlight that the Committee was concerned about the sorry state of the tourism sector.
- Committee’s Findings
- Zero Rated Value Added Tax
The Tourism Industry was regarded as an exporter and used to be accorded a zero rated Value Added Tax for its export receipts. The Ministry calls for the exemption of tax on hotel accommodation to be continued as was done in 1988 and 2003 when the sector was regarded as an exporter to grow effective Foreign Direct Investment into Zimbabwe.
The Committee took note of the application of the 15% VAT on tourist accommodation services in line with the destination principle which stipulates that VAT is collected by the country where the product is consumed and on offshore accommodation bookings. It further noted that the collection of VAT is in line with the SADC Protocol on Finance and Investment that urges Member States to harmonise the VAT regime and adopt international best practice and that the 15% VAT figure was a statutory requirement as is legislated in the country.
- Employment Creation
World statistics show that one in twelve people are employed in the Tourism sector, meaning that one tourist creates twelve jobs. The obtaining situation depicts that tourists visiting Zimbabwe are currently creating employment for only six people. New employment opportunities can only be created within the industry when new hotels open up, products and activities are taking place. Thirty to forty percent of jobs of companies in the sector are dependent on oversees tourists. Therefore, the introduced 15% VAT would create challenges on employment opportunities
- Destination Competitiveness
The Cost of Doing Business is prohibitive, that is, licences, cost of funding business and musical rights, make it difficult for tourism operators to find ways of keeping their prices competitive and lower. The fixed costs in Zimbabwe are too high for operators for a tourist to stay in a hotel, camp or lodge. This might have been caused by the transition from the Zimbabwean to the US dollar that was not handled well. The Tourism sector is currently giving away between 30 to 35% of their turn over on commissions to the supply chain to get business to
The VAT and certain components in the value chain impact negatively on destination competitiveness. It becomes difficult for sales agents in the various markets to compete with other destination markets and lure volumes into Zimbabwe. International tourists would content with the high costs incurred by the operators relating to advertising their products on the international website, cost of travel, visa cost, travel insurance, vaccinations and health costs as well as the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority levy. The introduction of 15% VAT has the effect of increasing companies' losses. Investors are likely to consider our industry as non- profitable and one that does not give returns to investors.
The Zimbabwe Council for Tourism submitted that the industry works two years in advance and it is impossible to pass on a tax such as this to the final consumer of the tourism product given that contracts for 2015 were signed in February and March of 2014 by the industry. Prices for the year were in brochures already in travel agencies in every feeder market following trade across the globe. Bookings that are already in the system, based on contractual obligations with tour operators, airlines and agents, will not accept that clients that have been booked to pay an additional 15% for their trip. The industry will be forced to absorb that cost, refusing to do so will result in cancellation and relocation of the booking to a competitor country. This effectively means the operators within the sector absorbed the two year 15% loss on their balance sheets. The implication of all the value chain cost is that the cost is borne by the consumer. However, oversees tourists consider the final outcome of their journey in order to compare the best deals and select destinations. Trade in source markets can only accept small price increases based on inflation usually in the source market.
- Negative Image and Perception
Despite the 15% VAT, the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry opined that the country suffers from negative image and perception and does not receive assistance from the European Union to embark on international tours and exhibition to market the destination.
According to the 2015 World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism Competitive Report, Zimbabwe is ranked among the worst tourism destinations in the world at 115 out of 141 countries.
- Victoria Falls Investment Justification
The VAT would make the justification of the Victoria Falls investment defeated because it scares away the investors making Zimbabwe fail to realise its potential revenue from the proceeds accruing from the Victoria Falls airport. The number of foreign airlines flying directly into Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls is critical to viability of Zimbabwe as a destination and competitive prices will be necessary to ensure these airlines get the required capacity to route into Zimbabwe.
- Tax Compromise
It was submitted that if the revenue from the VAT is forgone, it would be recovered downstream. The tourism industry is only at the beginning of the much needed investment. A great deal more would be coming, provided the right conditions exist. The tourism industry is a fast foreign exchange generator, creator of direct and downstream employment, tax generator in so many other ways, and promises significant growth. The growth in the industry is not yet very good. Tourism room nights are still at low occupancies. It is apparent that the nation would benefit from visa fees, airport taxes and exit fees, commissions from international agencies and domestic operators, service taxes, VAT and corporate tax, air tickets fuel charges, tariffs and commuting, lodgings, room fares hotel taxes, local fees permits for
National Parks and other local tours when a tourist lands in the country.
- Tax Rebates and Concessions
The Government supported the tourism sector by extending tax concessions to improve its competitiveness in the region and beyond, for instance, rebate of duty on capital goods and suspension of duty on motor vehicles imported by Safari Operators. It was revealed that 55 operators have benefitted from duty concessions and the amount of forgone revenue from the rebates and concessions between January and
April is over $1.7 million. The Committee was also advised that tourism operators have already started remitting the proceeds of the 15% VAT to ZIMRA and the cumulative revenue amount collected between January and April 2015 is slightly in excess of $1 650 000.
- African Union Taxes on Tourism
In light of the proposed introduction of tax on tourism specifically on air tickets for all flight to and from Africa as well as on all hotel rooms in Africa by the African Union, the task to lure foreign tourists would be made more difficult. A continental levy that is also being proposed by the African Union on tourism would threaten the competitiveness of the country as a destination.
Foreign tourists’ arrivals were 27% of the total arrivals in Zimbabwe in 1999 had dropped to 13% by 2013. These arrivals fall under the high volume low value bracket hence the need to attract these high spenders from European Markets. The Committee learnt that the world's best spending countries are China, Germany, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, France, Canada, Japan Australia, Italy and the
United States of America. Tourists from these countries are the ones the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry tries to lure into the country. Zimbabwe currently endures very low percentages of visitors from overseas and very high percentage of visitors from Africa.
- Feasibility Studies
It appeared to the Committee that a bone of contention exists on this matter. It was submitted that the announcement of the introduction of the 15% VAT on hotel accommodation by the Minister of Finance was made before a study on its impact on the sector was concluded.
Thus, the sector was then compelled to comply with the pronouncement.
The Permanent Secretary refutes the allegation that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development introduced the 15% VAT on hotel accommodation before the conclusion of feasibility studies on the matter. The Permanent Secretary also argued that the current economic hardship affects all sectors of our economy, thus the request from the Tourist Operators to lower the VAT would not augur well with the rest of the sectors.
- Destination Accessibility
The Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry reiterated that Beitbridge Border Post is hampering the arrival of foreign tourists into the country because of too much bureaucracy.
5.0 Analysis of the Key Issues
From all the three presentations and submissions, it was lucid that the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 20) Act, 2013, the
Tourism Act (Chapter 14:20), and the Value Added Tax Act (Chapter
23: 12) provide the rational basis for the Committee’s recommendations on the issues raised above as explained below.
Three issues emerged important, pivotal and critical. These can be summarised as follows; - There is need for;
- Urgent intervention to protect the sector from regressing by incentivising international arrivals through economically viable rates;
- Urgent need for the Government to consider scrapping off the 15% VAT on payments for accommodation and tourism services by foreign visitors; and
- Reduce the pricing structure in the country.
- Tourism Destination Promotion
Section 5 (1) (a) of the Tourism Act (Chapter 14:20), provides that
“Subject to this Act, the function of the Authority shall be to promote Zimbabwe as a destination for tourists, and to promote the tourist industry in overseas, regional and domestic market;” The Zimbabwe
Tourism Authority’s function to promote Zimbabwe as a destination and tourist industry is of paramount importance. The successful execution of this function is directly hinged on level playing field in both regional and international tourism sectors. The introduced 15% VAT on foreign tourist arrivals in Zimbabwe negatively affects the destination competitiveness and the growth of tourism industry in the country. Tax charges for hotel accommodation for source markets are much lower than the standard rate. If this would be implemented in Zimbabwe, tourism operators and players would compete favourably with other destination markets and allow them to operate at full capacity. Thus, the 15% VAT introduced by the Government becomes a significant cost for oversees market and would be very difficult for the local operators to absorb.
- Tourism Investment Promotion
Section 7 (b) of the Zimbabwe Investment Authority Act (Chapter
14:30), also espouses that
“Subject to this Act, the functions of the Authority shall be to plan and implement investment promotion strategies for the purpose of encouraging investment by domestic and foreign investors;” Again the Zimbabwe Investment Authority is mandated to encourage foreign investment in all sectors of the economy including the tourism sector. The Authority relies mainly on potential profitability of the sector of which tourism is promising. Promotion strategies could be easily thwarted when this particular sector is viewed as non-profitable or that with dwindling returns. Therefore, a 15% price rise will unquestionably be a significant momentum stopper in the sector with regard to investment potential and can set the industry behind several years and it will be costly to recover.
- Employment Creation
Pursuant to the need to uphold and adhere to the provisions of section 24 (1) and (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment
(No 20) Act, 2013, which state that,
“The State and all institutions and agencies of Government at every level must adopt reasonable policies and measures …. to provide everyone with an opportunity to work…and must endeavor to secure full employment,”
There is need to create employment opportunities within the tourism industry through new hotels opening up. As it stands, thirty to forty percent of jobs of companies in the tourism sector are dependent on oversees tourists. It goes without saying that, the introduced 15% VAT would create challenges on employment opportunities when foreign tourist and foreign investors shun Zimbabwe as a tourist destination. As has already been alluded to, it is important to attract and grow oversees tourists because they are the ones that bring employment to the nation as compared to the transit tourists.
As legislators, our obligation is to ensure that tourism is governed and managed in a manner that is in the national interest, in terms of section 119 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, and promote economic development. There is need to achieve the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation (ZIM ASSET)'s target for the Tourism sector to contribute 15% of the GDP to the economy by
2015, and be in line with the UNWTO 2015 Tourism Day theme “One
Billion tourists, One Billion opportunities.” There is also a need for the industry to become profitable and grow so that the current stock of rooms would be increased in order to meet the demand of the projected growth of the tourist arrivals of 4.7% by 2015.
Informed by this pertinent observation, the Committee recommends the Executive to urgently consider the following, pursuant to the need to achieve two of the four ZIM ASSET Strategic Clusters of
Food Security and Nutrition and Social Services and Poverty Eradication.
6.1 The Committee recommends for an ongoing evaluation of the tourism business and monitoring of the situation and effects so that the recovery of the sector is not undermined by the 15% VAT on foreign tourists. This is partly because timing of the move was wrong and indications are that it is difficult for the industry to come up with attractive rates for domestic and regional markets. Some of our tourism products are now 35% more expensive compared to some regional markets. The 15% VAT charge dampen average hotel room and bed occupancy levels expected to improve this year to 61% and 42% respectively.
6.2 It also recommends the Executive to introduce creative and intelligent taxation that moves the whole value chain. It must be emphasised, at this juncture, that an insistence on tax compromise would grow the sector and avoid the consequences of cancellations of already made commitments. If a zero rating, in terms of section 10 of the Value Added Tax Act (Chapter 23:12), cannot be continued on the tourism sector, VAT on foreign tourists can either be introduced on an incremental basis as in phases of 3%, 5% and 7% beginning in 2016. Economically, it is destructive to introduce a 15% tax all at once. There is severe damage pending if this continues. Uganda and Tanzania have experienced the impact of added cost through VAT and have since retracted.
6.3 The Committee further recommends that, with immediate effect, duty rebate introduced by Government covers all tourism products required by the tourism players to operate. Currently, some sectors in tourism such as the car hire and tour operators are totally left out, thereby exposing tourists to unwanted poor service in those areas. Airlines are excluded from the schemes extended yet they have a lot to offer the destination by way of a conducive and appealing destination.
6.4 It is the Committee’s recommendation to the Executive that the implementation of measures to enhance the competiveness of industries in Zimbabwe be expedited in order for the sector to be able to revise its costing structure downwards. The Cost of Doing Business impacts negatively on the pricing structure in the country and wards off potential tourists. Zimbabwe’s tourism services are deemed exorbitant.
6.5 Last but not least, the Committee strongly recommends the Executive to totally suspend the VAT for foreign tourists with effect from 1st August 2015 until 2019, for the sector to recover, grow volumes, allow the many potential dividends from the UNWTO to pay off and increase direct arrivals at the new Victoria Falls Airport.
With the above submissions, Mr. Speaker Sir, I now commend this report for consideration by this august House. I thank you.
- MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for according me this opportunity to debate on this noble motion by Hon. Anastancia Ndhlovu.
I will not dwell much on the findings of the Committee because the Committee did a wonderful job in coming up with these exhaustive findings and deliberations.
The issue of VAT is a topical issue. If we allow this to go ahead, we will have a number of challenges that we will face as a nation. In that area, I will also highlight the issue of comparative analysis which is critical at this moment. We need to actually ascertain what other sister companies especially in the SADC region, are doing with regards to this VAT. I will cite an example of South Africa, Botswana, DRC, Angola and Namibia, the VAT does not exceed 5%. You can imagine us charging 15%, the implication thereof. As to facilitate and promote this tourism industry, it is important to address this issue urgently.
I will take it from a different perspective Mr. Speaker Sir, to say what the Hon. Chairperson of the Committee has articulated in our report which is your report, there are areas that we can add value to the fiscus without necessarily factoring our minds on this 15%. I will cite a number of these initiatives that we can adopt as a nation. We have infrastructure development. We can take an example of the Zambezi River. We can come up with bridges, thereby collecting revenue from those bridges. Look at Zambezi escarpment, Kanyemba Border Post; we can have beautiful bridges there whereby we can raise enough revenue towards the fiscus.
I also have another issue which is quite disturbing, the national airline, Air Zimbabwe. If you look at Air Zimbabwe, we take it as a profit making organisation but it brings pride to the nation if we have our airline functioning well. Instead of us focusing mainly on the national airline, it is quite important to come up with a policy whereby as a nation, we are going to support our national airline so that it will promote tourism. If we do not have a viable national airline, how are we going to contribute positively to the tourism industry? Let us focus our minds on rebuilding our national airline which will also bring joy to the nation, our beautiful land Zimbabwe.
Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir, on that note but there is a major area of concern, the policy in consistency whereby you find that the application of law is discretional. At times you do not know what is really transpiring. One day you come up with a policy, the next day you actual have diverted views on that policy. This impacts negatively to the operation of the nation, in particular this industry. I will cite one of the examples that was alluded to by Hon. Chairperson of the Committee, the issue of applying the policies selectively; the issue of safari operators being given the right to import cars duty free but the industry consist of a number of players. Why can we not extend that noble benefit to a number of players so that this will benefit positively to the nation?
Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of policy inconsistency is a conduit pipe to corruption. If we do not have consistency in policy, we create a window of corruption. I think it is very important to have this in place.
I also want the buttress the section that hon. Chairperson of the Committee Madam Ndlovu said, Section 24 of our supreme Constitution of Zimbabwe with Section 24 (2)(b) which states and I quote , “ the removal of restrictions that are necessary inhibit or prevent people from working and otherwise engaging in gainful economic activities”. Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of employment creation is quite pivotal. It impacts negatively to the nation if it is not well addressed. Given the recent or the contemporary ruling by the Supreme Court which is also topical again, you see that a number of employers are left with no option but to retrench since this ruling is in their favour. It is quite important to urgently address the issue of VAT so that hotel accommodation will be viable and at the end of the day, we will not have this mass exodus of employees as witnessed recently.
I would also want to thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for this noble motion that 15% be scraped. I also share the same sentiments that it is urgent to address the issue and remove this 15%. I borrow the words from the preamble of our Constitution of Zimbabwe of which I will quote, “acknowledging the richness of natural resources, celebrating the vibrancy of our traditions and cultures”. It is my humble submission Mr. Speaker Sir, to say that Zimbabwe is a favoured and blessed nation. Let us tap into our resources and have comparative advantage; have advantage over a number of countries that do not have these natural resources so that we promote and enhance tourism in Zimbabwe, thereby creating employment and avoiding a number of challenges bedeviling our country. I say to you hon. Speaker Sir, with your permission, let us all be united as Zimbabweans and drive this noble cause of rebuilding our Zimbabwe. Thank you very much.
- SPEAKER: I make a very particular observation by the mover of the motion and seconder. A clear illustration that they have read the Constitution as a Committee and the Constitution is our Bible and that it is the springboard of all pieces of legislation that need to be aligned, I thank you for that example.
- TOFFA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me this opportunity to contribute to this motion on the introduction of 15% VAT on hotel accommodation. The 15% addition to our heavily taxed nation and especially the industry of hospitality and tourism will have a negative impact if it goes ahead. Tourism is one of the very few industries in Zimbabwe today that is contributing to the Gross Domestic Product. At the moment, tourism is not doing well, as can be seen by the accommodation that is being taken up in our local hotels, in Harare itself and in the tourism areas.
Mr. Speaker Sir, tourism is one of those industries that is, as has been alluded to by one of the Committee Members, a God-given gift to us that we need to nurture and contribute to. If we add 15% VAT to accommodation, we are only doing an injustice to our industry. We need to, as recommended by our Committee, hold on to adding this VAT. We know that VAT is needed to contribute into the economy, but the timing is definitely wrong.
We also need to realise that we must not compare ourselves with other countries that have VAT on accommodation. We need to look at those other economies holistically. We need to understand that those economies have other industries that are contributing, that are running smoothly whereas in Zimbabwe, we are still grappling with trying to find our feet; trying to get going. This will also affect unemployment. As it is the hotel industry, as alluded to by our report that at the moment it contributes to employment 20 to 40%, if I remember correctly, that will go down. We would not have any employment being generated because what we will do is kill the little that we have. What is our objective as a Committee towards the hotel, hospitality and tourism industry? Our objective is to maximise our benefits and the growth of the industry. By introducing the 15%, we will be doing an injustice.
Other people would say, there are some members of the industry that are already contributing towards the 15% and a figure of US$1.6 million is realised, yet the industry has a projected income of US$5 billion that they want to achieve. If we are going to introduce the 15% on that little that we have, we will not be able to get to that threshold. What also need to be done is, as we are looking at this industry, we need to look at all the contributing factors involved in industry. For example, how our guests are received at our border posts? The bureaucracy that they have to go through, that needs special attention as we heard from the presentation that we had during our Committee Sessions.
Another sector that needs to be looked at is the airlines. For example, there is a departure fee that needs to be paid by tourists when leaving the country. That departure fee was once upon a time included on the ticket, but now you have to pay it on departure. You find that this is not information that the tourist is privy to, at most. I am sure many of us have been tourists. When you go shopping and you spend all your money right to the last cent, when you get to the airport you find that
you have to pay a departure fee, which you would have not prepared for. The reason from the responsible Ministry, when we asked the question as to why this departure fee is no longer included in the ticket, it was found that Air Zimbabwe was not doing its job. They were not remitting the departure fee to the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe. This speaks to the fact that the responsible Ministry must make sure that people are not sleeping on their jobs, instead of making the tourists suffer for our inability.
As a member of the Committee, I feel that it is very important at this stage to make sure that we do not introduce the 15% VAT. We will introduce it once the industry has recovered, is on its feet and contributing positively to the economy. Thank you Mr. Speaker.
- CHIMWAMUROMBE: Thank you Mr. Sir, for recognising
and giving me this opportunity to contribute to this topical motion. Mr. Speaker Sir, after UNWTO Conference in Victoria Falls, we were very happy that tourism industry has been boosted and given life lime to recover from the bad perception the world had before. By introducing this 15%, we are working against the work that had been done by
UNWTO and our Hon. Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
As much as we would want to increase our fiscus, introduction of VAT is normally done when we want to discourage things like smoking cigarettes so that we can boost our fiscus. By introducing the 15% on tourism accommodation, we are actually like telling the people that tourism is not good. We can actually do away with it. I would want this hon. House to discourage that perception by contributing to this debate that the 15% VAT should not be put in place.
As we speak, we are using United States dollars and the rand is falling. We are becoming more expensive than our surrounding neighbours. Tourism is a very dynamic industry and because of technology it is very fast to change. So far, from January to date, we have lost 20% of tourist arrivals. By the mere fact that the US$ that we are using is stronger than the rand makes us expensive.
Mr. Speaker Sir, as we are already expensive due to the increases and changes of currencies from our Zimbabwean dollar to the rand, our accommodation cost of valuing businesses is very expensive compared to Zambia, Botswana and other surrounding countries. It will be detrimental for us to introduce this 15%. I beg you and the Executive not to introduce this 15%. I thank you.
- SPEAKER: Hon Misihairabwi-Mushonga, were you
MRS. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: No, Hon. Nduna asked
me whether he would give me the chance to debate. I do not know whether he was taking your job. I then said, khuluma sihlobo sami.
+MR. SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, do not take my Chair [Laughter]- Please go ahead and debate Hon. Nduna.
- NDUNA: Thank very much Mr. Speaker. I want to add my
voice to this noble report on the 15% in the tourism sector. I want to touch on a few points. The country is already reeling under the yoke of sanctions and if we now add 15% to an already ailing sector, that is Godgiven like Hon. Toffa alluded to, we are not only shooting the industry in the foot but the nation as a whole.
We should be exercising our sovereign rights to utilise what has been God-given to make what we can and get what we can using what we have already. By introducing 15%, we are basically missing the point and we are not going to go far. We are going to run but we are not going to hide.
The other reason I stood up to add my voice is; because I chair the Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development – the issue of our airline, flagship carrier should be taken seriously. We need the right people. We do not need the square plugs in round holes. The issue of the departure tax vis a vis our monies for the ticket I think it should be a collaborated activity that should not leave anything to the imagination that should not also inconvenience unduly our tourists.
As Hon. Toffa alluded to, this used to be under the same umbrella but because of the shenanigans and lack of convergence and cooperation between Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and Air Zimbabwe, we are not inconveniencing our tourists. How then do we optimally bring them in and how do we expeditiously get them out in a more robust manner without inconveniencing them?
I want you Mr. Speaker, to picture this; you buy your ticket and you are now told to go to another cubicle to buy departure tax which is domestically US$15. If you had bought your ticket at one port, that is the ticket sales office and you go through check-in and go and board your aircraft; it is better off than being taken from one cubicle to another in the same airport. What will this do to the tourist who is outside and comparing us with the other global players in the region and in the same market? They will opt for a carrier which is not flection. How then do we say we have got a flagship carrier and we are proud of Air Zimbabwe if they are going to behave as though they are a bull in a China shop?
It boggles one’s mind how we are then able to have a whole board in place and cannot administer such a small entity or issue that borders on the issue of departure tax. I am not debating from the report on Air Zimbabwe but however, I thought I should put it across to you that I think it is an issue of square plugs in round holes. We need to deal with this issue immediately.
I spoke of a robust transport system without which we cannot bring in our tourists. In the tourist resort areas, we should not only be able to give a rebate in terms of tax at the border post for the purchase of vehicles in the tourism sector. We should also go further by making sure that the road network in those tourism areas is second to none. I will bring you to a point where during the UNWTO, the Zimbabwe Ministry of Transport, through ZINARA and other entities went all out to spruce up our road networks. I applaud them for doing that because our road networks and the tourism sector is the face of the nation.
Currently, we have the expansion of the Victoria Falls airport through Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe so that we can optimally lend the big aircrafts that are globally oriented. I applaud this activity through the Chinese loan of US$150 million facility…
- ANASTANCIA NDHLOVU: On a point of Order Mr.
Speaker Sir. The Hon. John Holder is disturbing the debate; I therefore plead with you to whip him Sir.
- SPEAKER: Hon. Holder, please sit down. What Hon. Nduna is emphasizing is the question of volumes of tourists as opposed to hammering tourists with 15% VAT taxation. That is a valid argument. So please, hold your own. Thank you – [MRS.
MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: He has been terrorizing us] – MR.
HOLDER: Inaudible interjections.] –
- SPEAKER: Order! Are you arguing against my ruling?
- HOLDER: Someone is saying I am terrorizing them Mr. Speaker, - that is the problem. I am just saying he must stick to the debate. Thank you.
- SPEAKER: He is sticking to the debate. There are no terrorists in this House – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
- NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. At one time, our road network was better than that of Zambia. I would like to applaud the authorities in the Executive who are making sure that our road network is back to its former glory. At a certain stage, we used to joke at how one could not drive straight into Zambia because there were a lot of potholes as compared to those in Zimbabwe. However, Zambia overtook us and we are not getting at par in terms of infrastructure development. I therefore want to applaud the Minister for taking up the challenge to spruce up the road network especially in the tourist resort areas. This was done during and after very big events like the World Trade Organisation Summit.
I also want to say that during the same time, we had our health institutions being spruced up including rehabilitation and ….
Hon. Nduna having been addressing the gallery.
- SPEAKER: Hon. member, address the Chair.
- NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. At any point Mr. Speaker Sir, do not think that I am not addressing you, I am just getting carried away, but I am…
- SPEAKER: Order, order. The Chair is not occupied by an ugly man. Please address the Chair.
- NDUNA: I apologise Mr. Speaker.
- SPEAKER: Apology accepted. Wind up your debate.
- NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to touch on the issue of Special Economic Zones (SEZs). It addresses the issue to do with taxes and One Stop Shop, the ease of doing business. When the tourists come here, let us optimally utilize the game of economics by making sure that we get everything that they have. As alluded to by Hon. Cross in his debate on SEZs, we can have conference facilities and bring the tourists, not only to view the majestic Victoria Falls, but also to carry out their conferences in a place where they can enjoy both business and pleasure.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the health sector in the same tourist resort, is going to make sure that we do not unnecessarily have to put in unnecessary taxes where we can have ailing tourists who are flown in for two activities for the price of one. In the same tourist resort, if we establish a health facility second to none, we can then cater for our top notch tourists who can feel free to come to this nation knowing fully that they can be taken care of both health wise and enjoy the majestic Victoria Falls.
Hon. Chamisa also alluded to the fact that tourists now want to view the Victoria Falls from the back as opposed to the front. Increasing or charging the VAT of 15% will ensure that they go en-mass through Livingstone as opposed to coming through the Victoria Falls. It is therefore my humble plea that we should not increase. Instead, we should explore other sources of revenue collection to enhance our economy within the tourism sector oriented spheres like Great
Zimbabwe, Matopos, Mtarazi Falls and other areas.
Mr. Speaker Sir, on corruption, if we leave anything to chance, we will continue to have corruption. Assuming we have inconsistencies in terms of harmonisation of charges in Livingstone and in Victoria Falls, we will have the likes of ‘change money people’ taking advantage of lack of harmony between two tourism sectors that are sharing the majestic Victoria Falls.
Mr. Speaker Sir, speaking of corruption, it makes sad reading that sometimes our journalists do not cover the God-given resources that we have got optimally because they are not being financed. We need to nip corruption in the bud, especially in the journalist industry. This will ensure that we have a corrupt free media because our media speaks volumes of what our nation is like. They sell us outside there. I speak about corruption of the media in this House because this is the fertile ground for breeding corruption amongst legislators by the journalist fraternity. They will get anything from you in order to write bad about you and this should stop and then we can trust them to write good about the nation and the tourism sector.
As I wind up, I also want to talk about what we have done in terms of the Agrarian Reform Programme. We want to empower the formally marginalised black majority, let us do it as an affirmative action in the hunting concessions Mr. Speaker Sir. As the tourists come here, some of them are hunters, let us make sure that the formally marginalised majority also enjoy the cake in terms of the hunting concessions.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we hosted the Zambian tourists in Bulawayo. Yes, they are our neighbours but to us they were tourists. The way we handled them - the wing that we hosted them in was second to none, if that can be emulated in the future for all other delegates that come to us. I also want to add my voice as Hon. Tshuma said, that Mr. Speaker Sir, with your indulgence, where you watched, it was a football match that was second to none against the Zambian legislators. Because of your presence Mr. Speaker Sir, the Parliamentarians were really pushed to the limit, including the women Parliamentarians who were losing by 13 – 0. They then lost by 13 – 12. They lost by one because you were there and your presence was only present and you were motivational in terms of regional sport tourism, hence we walloped our tourists.
However, I want to applaud the team - the Parliamentary Warriors both the women and the men including myself - where I mesmerised the opponents with my sublime dribbling skills. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
MRS. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Mr.
Speaker Sir. I just stood to thank the Portfolio Committee for I think this is one of the best reports that we have had in the House in terms of its clarity on what it is requesting the Executive to do but also in setting a proper context in terms of why we are where we are. So, I just thought that I needed to thank them for that.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I will just raise perhaps two or three issues and I think that one of them has been alluded to. It is the issue around the effects of VAT on corruption. Let us be specific so that people know what we mean by how VAT is encouraging corruption. What is happening is that, because the tourists know that they have to pay 15%, when they get in the country, they ask the local people to go and do the booking for them. So, because you as a domestic person are not asked to pay the 15%, you will pay the accommodation for that particular individual. So, there is actually a thriving business of people who wait for tourists at hotel destinations to basically say to them, you are going to pay 15%. So, I can pay for you and at the end of the day you give me a certain amount of money because you are no longer paying the 15%.
So, that in itself is corruption and it has become a real major business. We now have barons who have their own runners who are at those hotels. So, when we talk about corruption, it is real and not the usual thing that people talk about.
The second issue that I wanted to raise is, I think that what we have not been able to deal with as Zimbabweans is to understand the contexts in which our economy is operating in. Therefore, we are operating on the old model as if we are an ideal economy or as if things are normal. We are not in an ideal economy. In an ideal economy, you are basically saying where am I going to get my resources from? I will get my resources from pay as you earn, from the tax that I will get when people are coming in and from the imports. Unfortunately, if you do an analysis of where our economy is, all those three are basically upside down. So, you cannot continue to try and do things as if those things are normal like in other economies.
I think that the issue of VAT as it relates to tourism, it is an analysis of can VAT operate in the context of the economy in which we are right now given the kind of challenges that we are working in. Are we not better off in encouraging the volumes to come in so that we have more money that is circulating in the economy other than hoping that when we charge those that are coming in, then we will be able to get it? It is the same argument on why we still insist that we want to charge VAT on my favourite subject – sanitary wear. Because, in our minds, we are refusing to deal with the fact that bringing in a product is going to create the necessary economic activity that we need. Unfortunately, I think that our minds are still set on a model of yesteryear when things were normal. The only thing that I find unfortunate about the report is I think it is barking on the wrong tree because I do not think that the
Ministry that you should be directing these issues is the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry. It is actually the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
I think the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development needs to understand that it cannot continue to do business as usual but that it needs to begin to change their way of doing business, even if it is only for a transitional period. The good thing about what the report did was to say, we are not asking you to scrap VAT forever. All we are asking you is to say, given the challenges that we do have right now, what is it that can encourage the coming in of tourists at a reasonable price? It is unfortunate Mr. Speaker that resources are a problem. What would have been really wonderful for this Committee is not only to do a desk research in finding out what is happening in other places. I think it would have been good if they had actually visited certain areas and see what it is that happens for you to get in.
I have a fantastic example Hon. Speaker. When I was not well, I spent about eight weeks in India. The amazing thing about the hotel industry there is that everything is negotiable, including your hotel accommodation. This is the Taj Mahaj, Seven Star Hotel. What they do is, if a tourist is coming and you say you are going to spend a day in that particular hotel, your charge is a little bit higher but the moment you begin to say you are going to spend five, ten or fifteen days, by the time I left, I was now paying something like $65 in a Seven Star Hotel, which is something that does not happen here. The cost is the same. A tourist walks in here but the reason why they are unable to do those kinds of negotiations is that they know that even if they were to negotiate, they will still be hit by the 15% VAT. So, at the end of the day, they get nothing from the negotiation that they would have done with a tourist.
So, I am totally in agreement with the Committee’s report around us giving it a trial.
I think that if the Minister of Finance, when he comes in with his
Mid-Term Fiscal Review, is willing to take the risk, he should do so. I know that we have a lot of other areas to which we have arguments around VAT but I think that because this is a low hanging fruit and we have always said, tourism is a low hanging fruit, I think let the Minister for the first time try and take the risk of removing the 15%, do the kind of things that we were doing to encourage the tourist to come in and see whether he is unlikely to make more money by tourists coming or not. If our argument here of removing 15% does not work, he is still in a position to say you convinced me but it is not working. But, I think that it could be one area where we really could pilot it and see whether our model of trying to think that we can only make money by taxation is the way to go instead of a model of trying to ensure that there is money that is circulating in the economy because when it then circulates, it creates jobs. When you are looking for your PAYE, you have people that are employed. As it is right now, I can speak because I had a niece who was attached to the Ambassador Hotel. Hotels are surviving on people who come in for internship because they cannot employ people that have degrees and are properly trained for what they are supposed to do because for an internship, you do not define it as a salary but as an allowance. Even when you talk about service provision, it means you are losing out on people that could provide the service because they have been trained to do so.
We need to understand this whole process and understand that the more we create volumes of people to come in, the more we create employment, the more we are creating people to buy the things that are out there. We used to be a country that was renowned for our sculptor. If you went to the United Kingdom and you found a sculpture that was coming from Zimbabwe, it was costing thousands of dollars, whether they are these madoilies that used to be sold by that company in
Masvingo, they were the best. Binga baskets – you would go into Denmark and find in these shops these baskets. They were costing a lot of money and they would be written this is done in Zimbabwe, in Binga a marginalised community. They would literally describe Binga. The baskets would not only be bought because they are beautiful but also because of the historical things that would come with it.
The more tourists you are bringing in, the more you are creating – you know it is sad when you see these people sitting here and you see these sculptors and baskets and yet there is no one who is coming to buy because you do not have tourists. Let us try and see whether this is the right thing. It may not be the cure, we are not saying it is the cure but we are merely saying since we are trying everything else - when you have somebody who is sick, you go around and try everything else until you say I have tried this. I think let us try this VAT route and persuade the Minister in his Mid-Term Review Statement to try to scrap it and let us see whether it will not bring the kind of things that it can bring. Like I said, I just want to thank the Committee. It is something that both sides of the House would really want to support and see whether it will make a difference. I thank you.
- MARIDADI: Mine will be very short. I wish to thank the
Committee for this report and also thank all the other speakers who have debated. I want to talk from experience having spent about two years working in the tourism industry after college. I worked for African Sun and I worked in all their hotels except Harare Holiday Inn. So I know exactly what I am talking about.
Tourism does not exist in isolation. Hotels do not exist in isolation, so you cannot just come and impose a tax on hotel accommodation without looking at the whole picture. For me, you must look at the whole picture like what Hon Nduna has said although he ended up talking about soccer which has nothing to do with hotels. I want to look at what
VAT is? What I have it says “a tax on the amount by which the value of an article has been measured at each stage of its production and/or distribution”. I am saying here is a hotel room, somebody slept in that hotel room last night. It costs less than $20 to service a hotel room because all you put in that hotel is a tablet of soap, towels that have been cleaned, sheets that have been cleaned and a satchet of shampoo. It costs about $10 if you want to do a costing of a hotel room that has been cleaned and it is ready for sale because it costs about 20c to clean a bed sheet and it costs 20c to clean a towel. You charge $100 for that standard room with two single beds and then you charge 15% VAT which is a lot of money.
If you go to South Africa, O.R Tambo Airport today, Courtyard Hotel at O.R Tambo Airport costs about R600 bed and breakfast. R600 is about $58 at today’s rate. You go to Rainbow Hotel in Bulawayo, a deluxe room at that hotel costs you about $160 but if you look at the ambience of Rainbow Hotel in Bulawayo and Courtyard Hotel at O.R Tambo Airport, Courtyard Hotel at OR Tambo Airport is constructed right at the airport and aeroplanes that are landing or taking off are flying right above the hotel but you do not hear a single sound because the hotel is sound proof. It means the way that hotel was constructed is expensive.
I actually worked at Rainbow Hotel during my internship. Rainbow Hotel always had a problem with water going up the hotel because I do not know what they have done with their plumbing. What they have done lately is that they have increased the pressure of water and when you use the toilet and flush, I think you drain Bulawayo of maybe 1000 litres of water. Anyone who has slept in that hotel, if you flush the toilet, the amount of water that goes through to just clean your mess is just too much. It is probably five times the amount of water that you would use in an average home in Bulawayo. Those that have been at Rainbow Hotel will have seen it.
I am glad Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga spoke about a business model. A business competitiveness is a function of its business model. If you have a business model, it does not really matter how much you do. The business will not function. Let me give you an example of South African Airways. The most lucrative route for South African Airways is the route between Harare and Johannesburg. That is the second most lucrative route for South African Airways. South African Airways goes to 112 destinations in the world but the second most lucrative is Harare to Johannesburg. They have 84 flights a months because they have 3 flights a day, which makes them 21 flights a week and 84 a month.
If you look at the average passengers that South African Airways carries on its flight, it is about 100 passengers. You multiply that by $400 for each passenger on return ticket, you get about $336m. That is the amount of money that South African Airways is making on the Harare/Johannesburg route and yet Air Zimbabwe is failing to make a profit. Air Zimbabwe is reported to have carried a single passenger from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg. Air Zimbabwe leaves Johannesburg at about 1900 hours and South African Airways will leave Johannesburg at 1940 hours. South African Airways will put an A380Airbus which carries about 120 passengers. That aeroplane will be full to the brim. Air Zimbabwe which is faster by the way because it takes about 1:25mins from Harare to Johannesburg and it takes South African Airways about 1:35mins. Air Zimbabwe which is faster will be carrying 50 passengers, one third of its capacity because it is a 150 carrier. South African Airways A380 Airbus which carries about 150 passengers will be full to the brim. I flew South African Airways about three weeks ago. An aeroplane that carries 150 passengers, I was on stand-by until the last minute, yet Air Zimbabwe was half empty.
The reason why I did not fly Air Zimbabwe is not because I am not patriotic but because if you fly Air Zimbabwe, you do not know when it is going to leave, whether it is going to leave at all, whether it is going to arrive or whether it is going to arrive at all. You cannot place yourself into Air Zimbabwe because you are not in control of whatever you are going to do after you have flown Air Zimbabwe because, probably you will not get to the destination or you do not get on time.
Mr. Speaker, tourism in Zimbabwe is naturally a low-hanging fruit, everything else being normal. Zimbabwe last year attracted 1, 2 million tourists. We have Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Khami Ruins, the hot springs and so on. Botswana has nothing. If you go to Botswana, it actually has more donkeys and goats than the people they have in the country and yet, Botswana attracted 3 million people. What were they going to see? They were not going to see anything. They were going to see a desert where when you walk in, you will see sand and that is it. Yet Zimbabwe boasts of one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Today I can challenge anyone in this House to go out of this House, try and look for a t-shirt which has a picture of the Victoria Falls and you will not get it in Harare. There is none. If you go to Paris, everything they do in France, it centres on the Eiffel Tower. Currency, memorabilia, hotel and street names, they all centre around the Eiffel
Tower because it is their tourist attraction but in Zimbabwe, nothing. In this House Mr. Speaker, there is more of British memorabilia than there is of Zimbabwe because there is not a picture of the Victoria Falls – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.].
Mr. Speaker, those that have been to the Niagara Falls in Canada, if you see the Niagara Falls and you come and look at the Victoria Falls, looking at the Niagara Falls is like you are looking at a chicken. When you are looking at the Victoria Falls, you are looking at a lion or an elephant. If you have not seen the Victoria Falls, you have not seen the Victoria Falls. For you to be able to see the Victoria Falls, you must just come to Zimbabwe, but look at the number of people who get flown by British Airways from South Africa to Victoria Falls. They simply walk in, look at the Victoria Falls, go back to British Airways and fly back to and sleep in South Africa.
Those are thousands of people, every week that fly to Victoria Falls but do not spend a single cent in Zimbabwe. They walk on our tarmac and get into those shuttle buses which have been organised by the way beforehand as the committee says that tourist packages are negotiated a year in advance. They have negotiated that so when South Africa is advertising tourism, they say come to South Africa and see the Victoria Falls. Go on DStv that is what they say.
You fly from Holland into Johannesburg, spend a night in Johannesburg, fly in the morning to Victoria Falls, get a shuttle bus that takes you to Victoria Falls Hotel, buy sandwich for $5, look at the Victoria Falls and get photos taken, do bungee jumping, get into your shuttle bus go back to the airport and back to South Africa, and spend another three nights in South Africa and fly back to Holland.
Zimbabwe in the process has lost about $500 from each single tourist. There are a lot of things that have to be done around the issue of tourism before we can even start contemplating of charging 15% VAT. As the Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga said, we are stuck in the business model of the past. We must stop thinking outside the box. Let us think outside the box and look at ways of raising money which is not necessarily Value Added Tax or Pay As You Earn. I worked at Hwange Safari Lodge. There is an airport by the way at Hwange Safari Lodge which is able to accommodate a Boeing 747 – MR. SPEAKER: Why did I not see you there?
- MARIDADI: Because I was busy with tourists. There is an airport which has the capacity to accommodate a Boeing 737. That airport Mr. Speaker, if you go there now, there is more grass than there is tarmac. It is not being used and there are more elephants and hyenas on the tarmac than there is tarmac because there are no tourists flying into Hwange Safari Lodge.
I remember working at Hwange Safari Lodge one day when those tour guys spotted an animal like the wild dog which was the most sought after wild animal, they would call the general manager who would go around telling tourists. We would get a convoy of vehicles just going to look at a wild dog. A convoy of seven Land Rover Discovery trucks each carrying nine tourists just going to look at a wild dog, take pictures and come and sleep at Hwange Safari Lodge hoping that tomorrow there would be another call to go and look at another pack of wild dogs, and come back and sleep. They would spend $1 000 just to look at one wild dog, take pictures and fly back to Holland. That is the kind of thing that we must promote.
How should this be done? This is not done by punishing people that sleep in our hotels charging them 15%. That is not how it is done. The tourism sector is a low hanging fruit but only if everything else is equal. I will come to other ancillary factors that promote tourism like transport or the Beitbridge Border Post.
Those who have been to Beitbridge Border Post Mr. Speaker, God help me. You get to Beitbridge Border Post, my wife is a Pastor but I nearly punched someone in my wife’s presence. The level of inefficiency is unbelievable. Then I asked myself, in 2011 there was a deal that was signed to rehabilitate and refurbish Beitbridge Border Post to make it a modern port of entry. What has happened? I do not know what has happened. It is still the same Beitbridge Border Post that was constructed by Garfield Todd or his predecessor years ago. It is still the same border post and what are we doing? We want to charge 15% Value Added Tax when we have not improved our infrastructure. Let us improve the bloody infrastructure and then get people to come into the country – [MS. ANASTANCIA NDHLOVU: No swearing.] – It is not a swear word –
- SPEAKER: Did you say bloody?
- MARIDADI: A-ah, I wanted to say damn, bloody damn –
[HON. MEMBERS: Laughter.] –.
- SPEAKER: Even damn is a bit unparliamentarily –
- MARIDADI: Then there is the ICASA Conference that is coming up. Are you telling me that people that are coming for this conference will be charged 15% Value Added Tax on their accommodation? If that is what I am hearing, then God forbid – [MS.
ANASTANCIA NDHLOVU: Amen!] – God forbid – [MS. ANASTANCIA NDHLOVU: Hallelua!] – You do not invite people to come and punish them. You are simply saying people come to
Zimbabwe so that we can punish you. No one will come to Zimbabwe.
Mr. Speaker, let me also talk about the issue of Air Zimbabwe and say that airline should be run by people who know how to run business. Incarcerating a former chief executive and company secretary is not enough. Let us get people that can run a business. When I say people that can run a business, I am not saying people that give us a curriculum vitae full of qualifications, MBAs and what not, no we want people with capacity to run business – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.].
If I were the one interviewing people for these jobs Mr. Speaker, I will tell you what I would do. Your qualifications, what you have gone to school to do, give us that just in two lines. I did a BA, MBA or whatever, that is enough and then tell us the outputs. What are you able to do or how are you able to turn around this aircraft. Zimbabwean CVs Mr. Speaker, it will tell you my name is so and so, the next three pages it is talking about his qualifications. I did an LLB, BA in this and those qualifications mean nothing when it comes to running a business.
Also, when you interview people to run these parastatals, you must also look at how that person is running his own family. You cannot get a man who has divorced six times to run Air Zimbabwe – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –. If he was not able to manage one woman that he takes to bed, how do you expect him to manage a whole enterprise with 600 employees? I will dare say the same thing about appointing ministers. When you are interviewing a minister, bring the wife. Interview the husband and when he goes out, interview the wife so that we will cross check what the husband is saying and what the wife is saying. Here is the man who wants to run an enterprise, his first born child from a love relationship fifteen years ago is not going to school and we expect him to run Air Zimbabwe. His first born child of 25 years never went to school.
So Mr. Speaker, we must change a lot of things. Let us change the way we write our curriculum vitae, interview our people, interview a man and if he wants to run Air Zimbabwe, interview his wife. If he is not married and he is 48 years, ask why? How many times has he divorced and how many times does he change women – ask those questions. You cannot have a man running Air Zimbabwe who changes women like he is changing pairs of socks, you cannot do that. I will set that aside.
I will go to the issue of policy inconsistencies. When we are in serious debate Mr. Speaker – [Laughter] –
- SPEAKER: Order!
- MARIDADI: Let us take debates seriously. Mr. Speaker, policy inconsistencies are manufactured by people that want to take advantage of the system and get corrupt. It is that simple; if there is order and consistency, there is no corruption. What it means is that, if you are coming into Zimbabwe to do some form of business, all you do is you walk into an office and you say I want to do this kind of business, what do I need? A receptionist sitting at the reception will simply hand you a document. You do not have to see the Permanent Secretary or the Minister. You run through the document and you realise this is what is required of me. If you are happy, you go and engage and do business. If there are policy inconsistencies, you are told - no, this is left at the discretion of the Permanent Secretary and this is at the discretion of the Minister and so on. What it means is that you must then see the Minister, you see him and say Minister, I have a group of 150 people that want to come for this conference and the Minister will say - okay, ordinarily if you want to stay in a five star hotel, you pay US$160 and we will make you pay 15% VAT but if you know how to talk to me, I can then negotiate and you pay US$90 and then I mop off 15% VAT.
So, the person who is negotiating will pocket US$50 000 that was meant to go to Treasury and the country stands to lose but here is one person who sacrifices the whole country because of greedy. Mr.
Speaker, policy inconsistencies wherever they exist must be dealt with.
If we do not deal with policy inconsistencies, we are in trouble.
To wind up my discussion, I would want to congratulate the Committee and say when the Minister comes here on Thursday, to present his Mid Term Fiscal Policy, I think we must speak with one voice and tell the Minister, please hands off 15% value added tax on accommodation in hotels until all the other ancillary issues have been sorted and until we have started receiving tourists. To the Tourism Minister, let us advertise the Victoria Falls. It is one of the only 7 wonders of the world and I have heard that, because we are at the borders with Zambia, if you look at the Victoria Falls from Zambia and you look the Victoria Falls from Zimbabwe, if you look at it from the Zambian side, it is like you are admiring a woman from the back. If you look at it from the Zimbabwean side it is like you are admiring a woman from the front. Which one do you prefer? Do you prefer to take a woman from the front or from the back – [Laughter] –
- SPEAKER: Order, order! I would request the hon. member
to withdraw the issues of behind and front.
- MARIDADI: I withdraw the issue of behind and front Mr.
- C. C. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would also
like to add my voice from the ancillary report of the Portfolio
Committee on Tourism and Environment. Mr. Speaker Sir, especially if you are going to speak after such gifted speakers like those who have gone before me, it is very difficult. I would like to look at the issue of a tax man and think from the lens of a tax man. A tax man is one person, when he sees the multitudes; he would want to be part of them so that he can collect as much as possible.
I am tempted to bring the issue of the shortest tax collector who was in the Bible by the name of Zacchaeus, who after seeing Jesus with the multitudes, he even went to see how he was going to come and had to climb a tree so that when he would see him and befriend him - the motive was when he became friends with Jesus he was going to attract more people. They would pay because they listened to Jesus, so they were going to pay their taxes. He heard the messages that Jesus had said, ‘you should give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar’ so he wanted to befriend Jesus and in order to collect as much taxes as possible.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the collection of taxes where you see multitudes, the temptation is that you want to rush there and collect much, notwithstanding what the Committee now sees that it could actually be affecting the cost structures of our tourist destinations and hotels. I think what was in the mind of the tax collector was that there were so much volumes of US$1.2m. If then you move in there, there will be much to collect so that you service Parliament as well as all the other institutes of Government. I think we should really understand where they are coming from.
Hon. members have actually alluded to most of the things. I would not want a repetition on that but when you look at the tourist industry, there is also the 2% levy that goes to ZTA; the other 5% levy if you are in the hunting industry goes to National Parks. If you add up this 2% plus 15%, that gives you more than 15%. You get about 19% from the same person who visited Zimbabwe. So it actually makes our destination to be more expensive than other destinations within the region if we are to add the 15%. So, we should actually look at the foreign direct cash in terms of tourism as opposed to the taxation of a 15%. We should actually look at the fact that Zimbabwe is now using the US$ and it becomes the most expensive destination in Southern African because we are using the US$. Most countries that would be coming to Zimbabwe would be trading at almost US$5 to reach US$1.
So because of that, it will make us to be the most expensive people in the region.
Fewer people would come because some of the people are not rich, they budget over a long period of time for their holidays. I lived in Europe and I saw people budgeting to come to Africa. They would forgo some of the luxuries just for a holiday in Africa because Africa is so exciting to them. If you get there, the first thing that they ask you is - you are coming from Africa, do you know Victoria Falls? That is the first question. Have you ever been to Victoria Falls, but if you are coming from Matabeleland North and you have never been to Victoria Falls, you have problems when you go outside the country because they would expect you to tell them more about Victoria Falls. So, we need to know that it is not only the rich that come. Some are ordinary families that are working more than two shifts per day so that they get money to come and spend time here. If we are going to charge them at US$160 per night single bed, that is too much in fact, even when we look at the cost of bread at US$1, I have never seen bread that cost that much anywhere. The costing in Zimbabwe is like we are still in the
Zimbabwe/US dollar era. We are not realising that we are now using the green buck. We need to change our thinking around cash.
Also the other think that should actually be encouraged, Mr. Speaker in Zimbabwe, is the plastic money issue. People are always carrying cash everywhere. In some of the dispensations, you are not even allowed to have US$1000 in cash form. So, we need to look at all these things and then we will be able, in addition to reducing our prices, attract more foreigners into Zimbabwe. There are some places you go to that if you have no cash there is nothing you can buy, but in other countries, whether you want coke or just a drink which costs less than a dollar, you can swipe and be able to buy. So, we need to bring that and it will go a long way in reducing the cash shortages which are being experienced in Zimbabwe.
Also, Zimbabwe is a country that is coming from some polarisation, demonisation and so forth. Some people are still scared to come to Zimbabwe. If we add more charges and it becomes so expensive for someone to visit a place where they were once told by the international media that it is dangerous to go to and warnings have been put by states in Europe that there is a warning ban or warning caution to go to Zimbabwe and today, we are giving our own caution that Zimbabwe is a destination that is too expensive. We need to reduce from where we are so that we are able to attract more people coming in to Zimbabwe.
Looking at Air Zimbabwe – I was talking to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development that when I went to Ethiopia, I was going to Tokyo via Ethiopia and I had time to ask people there why there were so many new hotels coming up because I saw it was a growing economy. So much is happening in Ethiopia and I could not believe that shacks were being destroyed to build hotels. New roads and the underground train into Addis Ababa is being constructed. I was surprised because what I had known about
Ethiopia was thin people and thin children that were dying during the
80s. When I got there, I was shocked to see that there are still remnants of the past. There are still donkeys in Addis Ababa unattended. I realised that it was the fast change that had come and donkies were still there and they had not realised the changes that were taking place.
I wanted to know the economic enablers that were pushing the economy of Ethiopia. There was only, Ethiopian Airways. I was shocked; an airliner alone. Did they have diamonds or coal? No, just an airliner, Ethiopian Airways because if you are to travel with Ethiopian Airways, you are most likely to put up in Addis Ababa. It is so designed and they have 25 planes that are actually carrying people all over the world and all of them will put up in Addis Ababa and you are going to spend a night there. In the morning, you will be in a hotel. I did not see the hospitality side of things in Addis Ababa because when I wanted to take another drink after a coke, I wanted a bottle of water, I was insulted for trying to do that and I said to myself what kind of hospitality was this, yet there is no need for hospitality or goodness. You will put up there because of the airline, whether you like it or not.
We need to craft policies that will make people to be here whether they want to or not and leave money without us being nice. To be nice is an added advantage. In Ethiopia, this is how things are happening. I was saying to the Permanent Secretary why are we failing as Air Zimbabwe because the flag ship of an international airline is going to show that in this country you can go there. Now, Air Zimbabwe is not flying any international route. How will they know that there is
Zimbabwe? No one will know that there is a country called Zimbabwe. When we used to have the Victoria Falls airline, the 746, which was plying the route to Europe people would actually see that Victoria Falls is actually attached to this airline and if we board it, we will get to Victoria Falls.
Mr. Speaker, going to the issue of also branding our tourist resorts, when we recently went to Peru in Lima, I had never heard of Machu Picchu, but what led me to ask was because all the people that were at that conference were putting on t-shirts written Machu Picchu. They told me it was a place like Great Zimbabwe or Zimbabwe ruins. They were pushing that if you get to Lima you must got to Machu Picchu and it takes about two hours for you to get there. When the conference was over, we were told please, do not leave without going to see Machu Picchu. So, we need to know and brand our Victoria Falls in such a way that anyone who comes into the country, at all the airports and everywhere, there should at least be a pamphlet or something written about the great Victoria Falls. From the Zambian side and the
Zimbabwean side, as other speakers have said, Mr. Speaker, that is what they are doing.
There are those who say if you look at the Victoria Falls from the Zambian side, it is like you are looking from the back, but what they are doing now, they are actually providing helicopters from the Zambian side, which was started by Zimbabwe. Helicopters will fly you above the Victoria Falls and then you will be able to at least see the Victoria Falls, the front end of Victoria Falls. So, they seem to be planning faster than us. They seem to be doing business in a very different manner than we do. What is it that we are not doing right? Victoria Falls is well known. Even David Livingstone, although he was a preacher in Zambia, his statue is facing the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. He was coming from London missionary society together with Robert Moffat, but
Robert Moffat was for Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. David
Livingstone was for Zambia going up, but his statue was right in the Zimbabwean side and the name Livingstone Town is in Zambia. So, they could not put him that side, he was supposed to be this side which is Zimbabwe. So, we are not taking advantage of the Victoria Falls and also, we are not doing any justice by actually coming to tax and make it even more expensive, coupled with issues of bad publicity about us, demonization, whatever you call it, and then we add another demonization which is taxation. Mr. Speaker Sir, we are not doing justice to ourselves. Tourism will employ a lot of people. It can actually meet some of the targets that are in the ZIM ASSET if we are to look into these issues seriously with a view of correcting it, not just looking at it with the view of Zaccheus who wanted just to see Jesus so that he collects more. I thank you.
- MANGAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me this opportunity to add my voice to the Report by the Committee. Mr. Speaker Sir, we understand the dilemma in which our Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is in but then, there are other means that can be used to collect revenue. It is unfortunate that some of us participated during the COPAC proceedings. People were asked ways that can be used to finance Government and most of us were suggesting taxes but not knowing the effects thereof. I think the effects are now being felt, everyone said taxes nothing else, a few would say from other sources like diamonds and so on but the majority were saying taxes. We thought that maybe they were going to be creative enough not to impose such taxes that are discouraging the growth of our economy.
When I was listening to the Report of the Committee, I was actually embarrassed by the departure tax. I had more questions to ask but did not have any answers. I think when the Committee will be rounding off their report, they will be able to answer my questions. If they made such investigations that what happens to those who fail to get the departure fee, are they detained and when they remain under whose cost? Is it allowed anyway through our Constitution that we detain tourists for the sake of a departure tax which they would have not known when they came to our country? So, it is actually discouraging, it is better that we have a high turnover of people coming with very little to pay for as long as they come in their number. What we should be looking at is the cost recovery and a bit of profit which is encouraging because when those tourists come to our country, they do not just visit but also see other business opportunities and promise to come back some other time for business ventures. We should encourage them to come with very little profit and then we can add on our returns since they might decide to come back again.
Maybe, the Committee should also furnish us with the number of people who have been detained because they failed to pay a departure tax. I am looking at a situation where a Zimbabwean is out of the country and fails to pay a departure tax and my relative is out there intending to come back home, so you might be made to have that task of sending something so that they come back home. I think the departing issue should not be included in any way because it is prohibiting visitors. They might overstay and it will be an expense to the country in terms of accommodation and other things. So, the departure tax is not conducive to our tourists.
I have got a suggestion, Mr. Speaker Sir, on other ways which the
Ministry of Finance can raise their monies. I had an opportunity to visit France, old Paris. I discovered that public transport is Government owned; all the buses belong to the State. Imagine our Chawasarira buses being manned by the State; it will just be clean money because everybody will board a bus, it is necessary. So, the commuter trains and the buses belong to the Government. Individuals only own taxes – our kombis here are taxis in France. So, imagine they only ferry one person because if they just carry one or two people, it will be enough to feed a family. But for a State, we need a lot of money. So public transport should be owned by the Government and it should be so that people will ferried to places of their interest. In other countries, there are buses to ferry tourists to various areas, just as a compliment. When you visit there, you would have gone for business and you will be taken to various places. It is also encouraging for business people to come and invest in our country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I am also of the view that charging exorbitant prices by our hotels is discouraging because right now, they do not have enough business. They have turned their hotels to something like restaurants. They are even selling sadza at US$2 to $3; these are the five star hotels. So they are actually competing with restaurants in town. if they are doing that, will they still remain as five star hotels – one wonders. If they could have fair prices in terms of hotel charges, maybe they could get enough business and also improve on the economy of the country.
Lastly, Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to thank the members of this Committee for this excellent job and that when they round off their report, it be adopted. I thank you.
- CHIKWAMA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
- ANASTANCIA NDHLOVU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 29th July 2015.
On the motion of MS. CHIKWAMA, seconded by MS. ANASTANCIA NDHLOVU, the House adjourned at Quarter to Six